to the other people here and also to our pls. there will be a signing after the panel. it will be in signing area southend. we will have died if you need help to find signing seven. albeit an opportunity if any of you would like to come and have further discussions with any of the panelists. they will be there as long as you would like to come by a book, how to find them and ask any additional questions. we do have only one microphone here to ask questions at the pml when they get through the initial session, we ask that eucom and lineup at that one microphone. i will let you know when the time comes to do that. i'm going to very quickly introduce our panelists because i want to get down to the good stuff, which is the book. first we have adam goodheart, writer and historian and her of the washington college tv star center for the study of the
american experience. his book, which we discussed today, 1861 was a finalist for the 2011 l.a. times book award. nsa think, this is his first book, which is quite amazing. i hope that's right. we have adam hochschild, author of several books, including varied to chains and king leopold's ghost. he also cofounded mother jones magazine in his book was a finalist for the 2011 l.a. times book awards. so we talk about this book. then we have and are nagorski next to me who are disappointed for correspondent major capitals of the world and is now vice president and director of public policy at the east-west institute in new york. this is his book, hitler land which we will discuss. a 2012, so it is not a finalist for the 2011 prize.
not yet. so i am going to start from left to right here and we will start working through the wars. i have asked that everyone talk about their books for about 10 minutes. i may interrupt from time to time at the question, but i would like to have everybody had a chance to talk as much as they would like about their books for about 10 minutes. in the process is we may ask questions of each other a couple of times while they give you a chance to come forward and asked questions yourself. we'll keep this has informal as they can, informative as the connective questions at the hour if we have a short period of time we will meet you in assigning area. so i want to start with "1861", this amazing book on the civil war, but there is a lot of civil war in it.
it's much deeper in the culture of the country that led up to the war. i'm really just ask him to start talking about what your hand to a topic that has been so written about. there's so many books about the civil war and yet, this sheds a whole new light, i argue, on the civil war. so maybe i do and you can that. >> actually when i started the book i thought there hadn't been any books written on the civil war yet. last night and then i discovered there's actually been 5000, which is actually more than one for every day and for surrendering appomattox. [laughter] so it's somewhat daunting. at first i just want to say how great it is to be here at the festival and in los angeles for secession the first book of anti-down on the. and it feels different. it feels a little bit like stepping outside the field of combat a little bit because in
the east, feelings can run deep about the civil war, especially when you venture down loza mason-dixon line of lafayette, you have to be careful. i keep expecting someone to come in the back of the room with a saber or musket or some name. i spoke a couple of months ago in south carolina and actually the republic of south carolina it briefly was. and nobody did luckily bring a musket or saber to my reading. but actually not just south carolina. i was speaking at some thing called the strom thurmond institute university. so that is when you really know here in south carolina. but the organizer i did meet such mattress going up on stage. he said one you should mention, i understand there might be some tough questions because i had a phone call this morning from a gentleman who wanted to know if the program on the wall of northern aggression is open to
the general public. [laughter] soto in that general men is not in the audience here. so you look just lovely, thank you. so my roots and to 1861 and into this ward that had so many books written about it really began in a place near where i teach on the eastern shore of maryland for a little college called washington college near the shores of the chesapeake day in one of these lands have time for god in area of maryland in the chesapeake region that feels very cut off from the rest of the world. i teach american studies classes in history classes they are. as a teacher really a believer in getting students out beyond the classroom and getting them definitely day, getting this on the ground cumin taken into the places where history happened. i feel like history is almost like at times sort of an
alternative parallel world that you just have to know the right portal to step into wherever you are, sort of like with platform nine and three quarters. not a big harry potter reader comments at platform nine and three readers. eight and seven eighths or 93 quarters so you just have to know the right platform and then you get on the train into another place. slant is platform nine and three quarters i like to take my students to is an old plantation house not too far from our campus. we're in an area theravada farms and plantations in houses that are in the same family for many, many years. this particular plantation has been in the same family since 1660s, which even by our local standards is a very, very long time. although i should specify the theatrical house on the property is relatively modern. it was built only in the 1720s, 1730s or something
like that. anyway, it's an amazing spot, please reveal history all around you. and i've been taking my students there for a number of years, but there was one particular visit just about five years ago that changed everything and led to this book come led to my first book. we used to go exploring this house and poking around and not corners of it, visiting the old family graveyard just outside the mansion that is oliver groaned with clambering bonds, visiting the 18th century slaves cabin out back that slowly down board by rotting board. among the poker all kinds of nooks and crannies in the old mansion itself. we been told stories by the family that helped to bring the place to life. one story passed down through the oral tradition hard to do with a member of the family at the beginning of the civil war,
not even after the big battles had happened, but any battles have been thought, trying the many other americans, especially in our part of the world, a border state trying to decide which way he should jump at this national cataclysm unfolded. and the family history set that he may have switched sides even more than once. but other than that, it was extremely vague. so we have until days and there is one student in particular in my class who had became fascinated with this particular tale. he was extraordinary student. how many of you are teachers or professors or have been teachers or professors? fantastic. lots of teachers. that's terrific. anyway, you know in every class there is always one student who is just sort of the irrepressible student. i mean? on the edge of their seat asking all these questions. this kid jim was an
irrepressible student, but even more irrepressible than most because besides the college freshman, he was also a united states marine. he had actually been deployed noncombat deployments in iraq. he was especially interested in military history. he heard the story and said i want to find out more. i want to find out what really happened. well as we poked around through the house, we thought there was a room up in the attic full of old family papers, stuffed into all kinds of nooks and crannies. i should say a archive according to the best archival practice of northeast maryland. which is to say of course there were stuffed into peach baskets and large old steamer trunks and things. so i've seen these papers before but never wanted to poke around because they belong to the family and no one had lived in this house in 20 years. it is still family property.
the gym as we gym as we looked through the house said to me, professor, i want to write my freshman term paper about what really happened to this guy come of this legendary guy in the spring of 1861 and i want to find out using the speakers in the attic. i'm going to find the story. so you know as a professor,mes p your students excitement, sometimes you have to keep it down a little bit. so i said chen, you've never done history research paper before. look at all his papers in the attic and large cans and baskets and steamer trunks. do not eventually there were 30,000 pages of documents out there, spanning 1665 is the oldest piece of paper that came out of that attic that to somebody's credit card statements from the 1980s. there was a lot up there. i said jim, you know, there is no guarantee that you are even going to find anything about
this one guy out of 13 generations of a family, let alone from 1861. let alone that sheds any light on this one semi-legendary possibly fictitious incident that happened as he was considering whether or not to leave the u.s. army for the patriot army in early 1861. he said i don't care. i want to write it. i said okay jim, i'll tell you what. we will come back here on saturday morning. i give you two hours in the attic. will poke around together if we find anything to with it, if you don't find anything come to your paper is due in 10 days. [laughter] go find something else for your topic. okay, okay it's a deal. so we came back saturday morning, start routing around and actually the very first thing we found was an incredibly x-rated poem from the 18 tens,
which could be my student was worrying because it didn't phase him at all. but basically the second thing that we pulled out of this attic and i was rooting around i find this big, big bundle of 19th century document tied up in a yellow silk ribbon that clearly hadn't been undone in a very long time. on the outside of this bundle was the rapper with the words, major amorous letters regarding the resignation from the united states army spring 1861. [laughter] i took a deep breath, looked at it again to make sure it's with what i thought i seen and handed it to my student and i said chen, one thing you should know, it's not always this easy. but on that particular morning, it was. the goddess clio was smiling down. bullies on its side -- i don't have time to tell the whole story, but will be found inside was a story of this man and his family in early 1861 before the civil war because the split of
battles there brings epically through history, almost a good book called name, shiloh in fredericksburg and chancellors per and cold harbor, all of these president debacle of american names. when the civil war was not a war being fought on the filth and fields in pennsylvania, maryland and georgia, the wasilla conflict been filed within millions of american families in the millions of americans individual hearts and minds. as this man and his family were exchanging letters about what he should do, what ebay should do, his wife used her free that really jumped off the page and grabbed me and told me momentarily into the past. she said it is like a great game of chance. fairly or nary free, but one
that i felt i captured this moment in which the future, this terrible toll of blood and suffering that was to be paid was still unknown and indeed unguessable by all these americans. i tried strip all of that away and return myself, return readers and the characters to this moment in which the future was in doubt. actually somebody on a lighter note compared my book recently to the show not done, which i thought that's interesting, but it turned out what they meant is that it's about this moment in american history when everything was about to change and people were dealing with that transition. so that is what i try to write. i tried to read about that would bring the tools of the novelist to bear on history. a sort of feel like i am a novelist manqué. i really wish i were one of those fiction panels today
because i think it was magic, but i don't have that section of the brain that secrete thoughts and characters and things. but i seriously do think we understand history very much their individual experience. we understand war through individual experience, not as lucky not to do so many civil war both and these blue and gray arrows crisscrossing on the map as they might be seen from 30,000 feet and treating battles as though they were football games. there is nothing in my book about whose cavalry went charging over which hill. but i am interested in those battles within hearts and minds. and i guess before i pass things along to the other atom, atom hochschild, i will wrap a. the student actually as i was in the midst of writing the boat can back i asked jim for permission before it could turn the topic of this term paper
into a book. although in fact the original story ended up as these things do sometimes kind of morphine out of the finished book so it's not a big part of the finished book. but i did ask them for permission. after jen had long since gotten his grade, which is quite good for the term paper and i was writing the book, jim deployed again as a marine. to tear off from school to deploy to afghanistan. as he was over there, we exchanged letters with each other and i get these letters from jan in these little envelopes with marine emblems and not as sunny outside and crumpled up injuries sustained in letters written on torn sheets of no paper like he was on combat missions and i could tell he was writing under the shade of a tree or leaning against this battle wherever he could. that experience where he could give me a sense of individuality of experience that i try to
bring across in my book. but that i'll pass things across to my panelists for the next war. [applause] >> well, i have got my friend, adam, beyond one score, which is the number looks being written on my war. last night if you go to the interlibrary carlock, which i'm sure a lot of you in the education world are familiar with input in world war ii 18141918, you look at -- alisa did the last time i looked, 109,000 titles. a mere 80,000 on english to which narrows down the competition somewhat. so the question is, how do you carve out a new way of telling the story when so many books have been written about something? i have long been obsessed by the first world war and have been wanting to write about it for a long time.
and i think sometimes -- you have to be accessed by something if you're going to spend four or five years working on this subject. sometimes the media of writing is figuring out where that obsession comes from and then wanting to share it with your readers. and the more i thought about the first world war, the more realized it really has some teamwork being accessed by. simon schama, they destroyed once referred to it as the original sin of the 20th century because so much spring from that is not only killed some 20 million people military and civilian, if we made the world for the worse in every conceivable way. darken the way we look at human nature and in the way that the war ended, and made almost certain the rise of not he is a
end the coming of the second and even more deadly whirl war. and knowing all of this as we do today, looking back on that. 1914 to 1918, there are certain things when you know how it ended afterwards. there's certain things that make that time and place particularly fascinating to me. and i think many other people as well. some of them hakko -- of echoes in the wars that we have been involved in since then, including those quite recently. one is the enormous confidence on both sides of the word became. you can easily find photos of french soldiers went into railway cars in august of them for teams with -- to berlin written on the side. you can find photos of german soldiers claiming to railway cars that same month with two pair is written on the side.
when kaiser bill saw his troops off that meant come he told them, you will be home before the leaves fall from the trees. the german plans called for perry's chief on the 42nd day of combat. now, another set of solutions i think had to do with how the war was going to be fought. both sides, from a mobilized huge numbers of calgary when the germans invaded france and belgium, they had 40,000 men on horseback. and you wonder, what were they thinking? calvary and the age of barbed wire? in each of the machine gun quite expecting upcoming calgary had been the decisive factor in warfare for 2000 years and people just couldn't bear to think differently. finally, there is another
illusion involved in the fight against the war, which to me is just emblematic of that time. and i think about it every time i see photographs of french infantrymen marching up to battle in their combat uniforms of 1914. bright red caps, break through tunis, bright red hands. what were they thinking? somehow you look at those uniforms and you think somehow this is a world that felt that it is more important to look snappy when he marched into battle than to not offer a tempting target for the other side. now something else that has long made the first world war very haunting for those of us accessed by it, i think his face. when we think about the wars that have been sought in recent decades, it is usually the poor who do most of the dying.
about vietnam, iraq, afghanistan come you don't find any children of u.s. senators for ceos by even those wars. in the first world war was the exact opposite because it was young officers from ruling class families for the young captains and lieutenants who let their men out of the trenches and into cattails machine-gunned or from the other side in order to out snipers on the enemy side, the officers wear distinctive uniforms. so they perished in a much greater rate and the statistics are extraordinary. lord salisbury who was prime minister in been for many years at the turn-of-the-century and the patriarch of one of the great multi-century british landed families of stan grant funds, five killed in the war of men who graduated from oxford in 1913. 31% were killed.
the british prime minister, herbert ascot lost a son in the war. so did his counterpart, the german chancellor. general airman ludendorff on this genocide last two stepson. the chief of staff of the british army in the western front herbert lawrence lost two sons. his counterpart in the french army lost three sons. so one of the things that fascinates me about the war is trying to figure out how to tease and think literally ordering their own sons and the battle day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year with a high likelihood of there being killed? so how to construct a book about all of this. like adam i like to write books based around people, around characters. as a novelist would deploy characters except the rules are
you can't make anything up. you have to find these really care terse. and i knew that one set of these care areas would have to be the generals, cabinet ministers, prime ministers who fought this war, who orchestrated it. but the very non-asset were made equally interested in another set of people. those who resisted it, those who perceived it as madness at the time understood this as a conflict that is going to lead to the loss of millions of lives and it's not worth it and they refuse to fight or if they were beyond military age with their women, they supported people who refuse to fight. and there were were sisters and all of the major countries. in the united states, where the 800 conscientious objectors went to jail, for example. but i fear do not want country
because in order to sort of contain the story and not have a sprawl a sprawl of the mac i felt i had to focus it. i focused on britain because for various reasons there was the largest most-active test organized antiwar movement if they didn't prevail, but they consisted of some extraordinary people. more than 20,000 british men of military age refused the draft. many of them as a matter of principle also refused the alternative service that was offered for conscientious to, which meant driving an ambulance at the front to reckon on the war industry or something like that. as a result, more than 6000 that they want to present a very harsh conditions. the largest number of people up to that point in time of her imprisoned for political reasons in a modern democracy.
for the longest time i could not figure out how to combine these theories different types of care who's. the generals coming cabinet ministers people thought the war and the war resisters increase in and those who supported them and articulated demands of the antiwar movement. i didn't want to do just a series of portraits of one type in a series of portraits of the other type. then one day i was reading a very boringly written scholarly quite ponderous article about a well-known artist pacifists called charlotte this bar, a real firebrand issues an ardent opponent of the workmen traveled up and down england with the conflict, visited families of men who were in prison, spoke at antiwar rallies, many of which were shut down a police for broken up by patriotic mobs with the best-selling antiwar pamphlet, was published prior to
the war had been involved in all kinds of radical causes, independence for india. she had into jail herself four times in the battle for women's suffrage and britain. and in one sentence in this article, the radical of the articles that naturally this inspires activities are deeply upsetting to her brother and he gave his name. sir john french, which i immediately recognized as commander-in-chief on the western front. and i thought, that's going to be an interesting relationship to explore. and indeed it was because this brother and sister had diametrically opposed political points of view, but they were very fond of each other and do they continue to see each other throughout the work of each site is considered the other's politics a sort of a forgivable eccentricity. they stopped speaking only when
in 1918 by nationalist rebellion in ireland broke out against the english rule and the british government feeling that a strong military hand was needed to suppress it sent sir john french in a field marshal to a ireland is nice way to suppress the result. his sister charlotte went to ireland to work for the ira. that is when they stopped speaking. but that gave me the idea that i could tell the story through looking through the divided families. so i went looking for them and i found several. one was the family quite well known for other things, the pankhurst, emmeline in two of her daughters, sylvia and christabel were leaders of the most militant wing of the movement for women's suffrage and written before the war. and right on the eve of the war, emmeline pankhurst had actually
been arrested for literally throwing a rock through the wind go of 10 downing street from the prime minister's residence. and the war broke out she was a fugitive from british justice in france. the moment the war began, she ceased all her political activity, put yourself at the service of the british government and traveled on speaking tours all over the british isles come united states, canada can't even center to russia to rally russian women to the war effort. but her daughter, sylvia became an ardent antiwar activistscome to stop speaking to her mother, published the most widely read antiwar paper that appeared in britain during the war. there is a third family group that i don't have time to tell you about, but suffice it to say that it consisted of one brother who is not only in jail as a war resistor, but was in solitary
confinement for leading a protest against prison rules. yet three feathers in uniform and a close family friend who would actually act as godfather at his birth was minister of war. so that made another group what a conflict in that. those are the sort of core groups of care koester who might try to tell the story of the war that so many at that time felt was a moral and political issue on which you have to take sides. let me just make one final remark before he stopped and turned it over to andrew. sources. where do you go for sources on people who live lives a long time ago? unfortunately i didn't have any place as colorful as the addict you mentioned with all those wonderful papers and so forth.
you can still find records of people's lives in different places. diaries were a wonderful source. but the brother and sister imagine john friend kept diaries in which they described their meetings with the other great love letters, letters of all kind, but love letters especially. as it happens, two of my characters, one of the warmongers cited on the pacifists i were involved in secret love affairs. and in one case, all of the letters survive. so do a favor for future historians. keep a diary and keep your love letters. last night so i hope that made you see the sources of some of my interest in this. and one thing i would just say in closing this i think that even though we write history as
they think we are trying to pieces of history, both as writers and as readers by not just because of their inherent interest, but because we can sometimes see them as pieces of history echoes lessons for today and i think something that is still very much with us today is costly and needless words that leap great darkness and destruction were earnest behind them. thank you. [applause] >> and easier to follow, right? first of all, but i do want to say to both atoms here, i will see you and raise you one the number of books -- [laughter] have you heard of this guy
hitler? boy, i think the point that you post made is how does one begin to write something new about something that has been written about so often? frankly i was a correspondent who lived in germany twice. it never occurred to me to write a straight history of the not the era biography of hitler. it has been done, done several times extraordinarily well that is also preoccupied with the stories i was covering at the moment, the collapse of communism, reunification. but i was always fascinated by all those books on all of those accounts. but two things really got me going on this subject. and that is one oddly enough to reset and the appearance of books about america's apparent in london. another source of inspiration. but they say wait a minute. what about all the americans in
berlin especially? well, has anybody really written about them before? and i went through and while there are plenty of individual stories, memoirs, biographies, nobody had tried to use but their story together and somehow they faded from the personal consciousness of people that it just seemed like paris of course and as that has that romantic aura to it. but the real place to be in the early 20s was berlin. it is the cultural capital of the world. renting it dietrick, albert einstein and other parties. it was an amazing place. but because of what happened next, i think the large extent the idea of viewing this as a place where americans came in great numbers by the way, they were very popular they are coming much more so than the french, surprise surprise.
they came there and saw this wild scene, including wild parties and people like josephine baker who appeared in was mostly known for paris days came over and staged her show in berlin in the mid-20s and even though they were already racist protests inside the germans left her, there's a sense this is one wild place and it certainly was in terms of the and social mores of the time. so these americans all came here. but the other part that made it interesting when it began to dig in to see where are the stories of their lives? and some of that came from literally the addicts and basements of people where they did have papers or archives is that suddenly you see events unfolding through the eyes of the americans and realized that if there was any period in history where we all assume that must've been perfectly obvious what was happening and how
dangerous devices with the rise of hitler. one fact you start hearing these accounts and the americans, very smart americans, people like the best journalists of the area, best diplomats, people like thomas wolfe, george kennan later known for russia, howard k. smith, sinclair lewis, all these people are in and out, dorothy thompson and they can't quite get a fix on this. and why not? for two reasons. one, there is a sense in many cases that hitler is this odd to appeared he is too weird. he'll never be anybody of note. in fact, dorothy thompson, the most in a correspondent of the era goes in an interview set for a year before he takes power and says i thought it was going to
make the first future dictator of germany within 50 seconds i realized i wasn't. it is the startling insignificance of this man who has the eyes of an alcoholic and all this. and on the other hand, there are some americans really early and i was determined in this book, which the name was the informal way some of the american journalists began to refer to germany in the 30s among themselves. that was something i had known. so the first people who met him as far back as 1922 a junior military and embassy called truman smith cannot a hearse correspondent thought this guy is an amazing demagogue and he could go far. but it wasn't linear. it wasn't that people gradually do more and more. a lot of people dismiss too much too late. and then you just have these stories. thinking through these american
stories, it had a of care or is that i think a lot of casting is in this town would have a hard time making up. i mean, two quick examples. hans finkel. just the name. but his father's bavarian, his mother was from a bostonian family. citrix very famous family. by the way from his grandfather was a civil war general and helped carry lincoln's coffin. he's a harvard graduate of 19 notre dame. among his classmates as teddy roosevelt junior. this is the white house, please harvard marching songs all the time. he marries a young woman named helen, was a new yorker through and through. her parents came from germany did they come to munich in early 1920s and they become friends at the local agitator called adolf hitler. and place the harvard marching size pieces hey wow, that could
work well for the ss. and after the pledge in 1923 when hitler tried to seize power, he has this kind of fixation about helen. mouse akin to hitler's sexuality or alleged versions of sexuality will be here a long time, so i will pass. but what i will say as he shows up on helen's store after several of his aides are shot and killed and he's being hunted by the police. he spends the night in her house for the next morning the police have the house surrounded and helen hot single, this american woman whose picture by delays in the book on the steps of city hall dressed as the statue of liberty and, then goes to tell hitler they are coming to the rescue any of the gun gun in his hand. and she's convinced at that
moment that he is going to commit suicide. now whether he would or would not fit in this scene he could read in the book in detail, she decidedly make sure that doesn't happen. so you think about that. 1923 with the rest of the history would be like. so i think there's nothing inevitable. if anything what is really struck me, talking about the beginning of the civil war and when people didn't know what was coming at the beginning of world war i. in the 20s and are these things could have turned out a lot differently. while i agree with you that world war i sets the stage, it did not mean that they had to be successful. and in fact, one of the real teams of the americans who did begin to grasp the meaning of hitler and how well he played psychology and theater ticket for a bias, that without hitler's leadership, probably germany might have been at it to
ship in fascist dictatorship of some sort, but nothing like the third right and nothing on this scale. finally just one more mention. even sillier stories that charles lindbergh becomes quite different when i began examining how it happened. charles lindbergh -- the fact that charles lindbergh visited germany became a very, very pro-german but the origins was not that he just wandered in there. truman smith come in the same military attaché, the first american diplomat to meet hitler comes back as a senior military attaché in his 30s and the terribly worried about the military buildup can't do much about the air force and things. but, hermann goering, a big guy here who runs the air force love celebrities and there's no bigger celebrity at the time to convert. when the plant he idea that they
invite lindbergh in, which he does and then lindbergh and the military attaches going together and see everything. he shows off everything edmund burke provides real intelligence that's very useful to the americans. probably because he thought if i tell americans and countries will never table with these guys. so there's even familiar episodes of quite different and not to mention when you look at them up close and through the eyes of people who were there like the spouses like chairman smith's wife who just can't extend the diaries and memoirs never published a word and she described the scenes, which are so real like a lunch for lindbergh, word during also shows off his pet lions, which is a whole different story. but i'll just say that there is
a picture with the story behind it in the book with that pet lion with chairman smith's daughter again central class would've a hard time making on them. thank you. [applause] >> if you're interested in asking questions and line up at the microphone. if any of the passably to ask questions of each other while reading. well, we'll move right here as people move forward. >> is interesting when they assign names to these panels, a lot of us are never quite sure what the panels are going to be a while. anyways, i'm delighted a king. i still think historians are some of the best storytellers there are. i have a dilemma myself. my dad thought report to him and my parents passed i inherited about a thousand letters.
they spent about seven or eight years now going through them. i'm trying to write some type of a memoir. and so overwhelmed by the volume of status. could some of you give me tips about what to leave and come about to leave out come how to parse an outline from this incredible treasure that many of us of my generation in particular were left with. >> a question. go ahead. >> there is no magic way. what is your central story that's going to carry the reader through. there's lots of peripheral stories that would've loved to be in the lead me in the beginning you're terrified you're going to be a mass which is the other part of the process. and then you finally discover,
well, i've got not old enough, how am i going to assemble this? and then you have to be pretty ruthless. what moves the story forward? that is the basic thing. and men leave the other things for some other opportunity. >> anyone else click >> the only other thing i would say is make sure that those papers don't end up in the attic and peach baskets in things like that because these papers we managed to rescue just actually as they were on the verge of being eaten by mice. we actually ended up nicknaming them the master papers. in this day in ages so much easier to digitize what you have an eager deposit the originals or the digital copies with the public archive because you just never know when that might be valuable for other historians as well. >> thank you. >> i enjoyed this so much. i'm a history teacher and i love your stories.
i wonder if you ever came across this. i came from nicaragua when i was 14 and joined the marine corps when i was 17 and this is the most intense change you can have any talk about your brain turned completely around. it is the best thing that ever happened to me actually but then i went to college and i learned that every single war was based on a lie. but talk about perhaps not the civil war, but world war i, spanish-american war, mexican-american war, 1898, first world war. no have you ever come across -- and i still have that thing about a marine, was a marine, always a marine. and yes when it comes to war, i disagree with every single war that the united states has declared. have you ever come across any soldier stories like that? or am i the only weird guy? [laughter] >> i think you're not the only
person who has experienced a paradox because i do feel that most wars in history that it's not based on linux come at the very least it can be said they made things worse rather than better because they inevitably lead to consequences that nobody imagined. i mean, look at afghanistan which was supposed to be a quick thing 10 years ago in 2001 to sort of cleanup the country that had been harboring al qaeda. we are still there today. the longest war in american history and arguably our presence there and our presence in iraq has been the best recruiting tools al qaeda and its affiliates ever had. and i think many wars have unexpected consequences like that and make things worse rather than better. but at the same time, there is
something about being in the military that encourages many wonderful things and people. they been in the military myself, not the marines and happily have never been in a war, but i think for people who do fight and who are in elite units like this, there is a way in which the military as an petition encourages a sense of solidarity, of looking out for your fellow soldiers, of adhering to certain standards of conduct and the great, great tragedy throughout human history is that these virtues have so often been exercised in the service of terrible, terrible causes. and it is a paradox that has been with us for centuries if not millennia. >> i just a quick comment thing.
i think you're also saying is there a war was justified or was it based on lies? and i would say when i was doing this, when i was writing killer land not to be judgmental and just let the americans tell their story. i have to say that when william scheiber, for dense, one of the great correspondence was warning people, it is inevitable that there will be a clash between this monstrous regime and everybody else. wake up in the same. and it's also a personal thing. if others in the polish army in 1889. and it's a great exception. i have a much harder time getting into that argument. >> i also agree -- i just wanted to make a comment appeared for a long time i saw that dropping the a-bomb.
i resolved that if the japanese have the same with they would think two seconds about it. >> thank you for your comments. >> my uncle was in world war ii and he actually had gone all through france and germany is actually scheduled to go to japan as his next stop and he was so thankful that they did drop the a-bomb because i was still a thing is that the japanese. if you look at socialism and fascism, they are less successful than the republican which is america in the past. somehow we are drawn. we see drawn currently to the model of socialist and as the way we want to move america because if you look at government spending and the growth of government and the
growth of regulatory states and the burdens we are placing on ourselves and her kid, how do we push back against that? how can someone pushback against them in germany, for example, through the 1930s? it seems like once they got rolling, because they had a really strong desire, hitler especially in his group had such a strong push, they were so successful at convincing german but that is the way to go. and it seems like in my mind, we are in stages are pushing pushing towards latin america. how can we turn that down? >> i would say first of all. he called this movement national socialists.
>> , let the authors state? sir, sir, let the author responded to questions? could he respond to the question quiet >> i'm not going to respond to exactly to that, but i'm going to say if you talk about when a government becomes so powerful that this is no longer an ideology. remember even the army had to swear allegiance not to germany, but to one man. so this is a whole different thing. and i am always wary of a think we have things to learn from history, but i'm always weary including direct equations between one and any other, especially this was on a scale, totalitarian scale that is quite different. whatever one thinks of the current situation in this country or any other country, i
think there are certain lessons about how one can split between very dangerous situation and citizens passivity and a lot of the issues and hitler land have to do with the german people. why did they go along with us or who doesn't? to people close also saw the people who didn't get along with it and what they may have tried to do or when they remain senate even though they are against it. >> thank you. >> i just want to make sure i'm not saying they are anything like germany, but just the tendency towards large government. >> thank you, sir. man. >> this is a question for mr. hochschild. i read your book and we are discussing it tomorrow. i love this book. i call great histories, i think it helps see how think about
your own times. and one of the things that he says is that king leopold used from humanitarian pretext as a way to justify colonialism as the veneer. but like you to comment on not least in the context of our contemporary reality in the united states. >> i think there is almost always a humanitarian demeanor and wars of conquest. nobody ever embarks on a war of conquest or a war of any kind, claiming they are doing it for selfish motives. never look at the way -- if advocate a world where one that i just finished writing about on both sides, each side declared
that it was fighting for civilization at else. and if you look at the rhetoric, they make the other side into the absolute antichrist. they are fighting for civilization itself. what will come to an end of far side doesn't win this war. and that is one of the things that i think make meaningful negotiations impossible between 1814 in 1818. but there is always a few minutes here and veneer put on any kind of war. you know, look at the changing array of motives that were behind the u.s. war on iraq. you know first it was because saddam had allegedly weapons of mass destruction. whoops, they are fair. well, we're going to overthrow an evil to tater and install democracy in the heart of the arab world did you know, the motives keep changing, but there always could motives been cited. so i think the main thing is
that you have to look behind, beyond what governments are saying and look at what the real things are that are driving the worst because they will always put some kind of humanitarian veneer on it at almost all times and places. >> with a little less than five minutes. >> it's been a really interesting panel. my question is i guess for ms. or nagorski. through the years i've always thought a lot about why people didn't see what was going on in germany. i hate to bring up another book, but there is a book that recently came out in the garden of the beast. >> i've heard of it. >> yes, my take on that list there was such a strong atmosphere anti-semitism in the american government at that time that they weren't really seen what was going on. that was my take on the book. i wonder if you could comment on
that. >> erstwhile yes, i have the dots, william.the ambassador in the 30s and his daughter in my book as well. i got from the beginning of world war i, and of world war i right up through the internment or end of 1941 at pearl harbor. but there's no question that we tend to forget how routine anti-semitism was in the united states in this area. and in fact, there is a scene i described was a 36 olympics coming up in berlin and avery brand is the head of the american olympic committee is heading over to see companies are going to be discrimination against? can report that it's okay? and of course there's a lot of staged things to make him say that yeah, the jewish athletes will be treated okay and even though we won't allow any on the german team. he at one point turns over to one of his german officials, and
since you know, my men's club in chicago, we don't allow in jewish. and there was a lot of thing is that of course be one of the early correspondence who came right after what are one to germany said i'm the only american jewish correspondent there at the time and i've never countered in anti-semitism. he was overdoing it clearly. there was no way to avoid the anti-semitism, but he was seen to complacent. in the early days, it is bad in places, but it wasn't -- it really grew and it became something of a whole different scale. so i think the fact that the rest of the road, not just the united states share some of the prejudice and make it slow to react to might also remember the scenes in my books were german e